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March 2, 2023

188- Undergoing the Unexpected with Jillian Benfield

188- Undergoing the Unexpected with Jillian Benfield
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Undergoing Transformation: Mother of Child with Disabilities Shares How God Uses Unexpected Seasons 

When unexpected moments change life’s trajectory, we’re left with a choice: Do we overcome the unexpected, as the world recommends, or undergo it? Author Jillian Benfield says undergoing an unexpected season begins a transformation that deconstructs our old self and reconstructs us into who God intends us to become. 

In her book The Gift of the Unexpected, Jillian uses her own life-altering moment—her son’s Down syndrome and congenital heart defect diagnoses— to encourage readers not to gloss over the hard parts of the human condition. Instead, she says, undergoing the unexpected gives us the opportunity to let go of our old selves, tearing down false beliefs about our identities, humanity, and the divine. 

“Intense. Stunning. Needed. Jillian’s words will help you discover beauty in the unexpected.” Leslie Means, creator of Her View From Home

In a culture where the prosperity gospel (control) and the American dream (achievement) are glorified, God uses the unexpected to disorient us from the ideals of Western society. His surprising gift equips believers to relate to the world’s pain and recognize how our worth and purpose rest in Him. 

“I believe your unexpected moment, your unexpected life, holds the same potential for you,” Jillian writes. “But only if you resist society’s instance on overcoming the unexpected and choose instead to undergo it.” 

The Gift of the Unexpected releases with Bethany House on January 17, 2023. 

Jillian Benfield is a former journalist and news anchor. She holds a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Georgia. As a freelance writer, her essays about living an unexpected life have appeared on sites such as TODAY, Good Morning America, Yahoo! News, and ABC News. Jillian regularly advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in her writings, in her community, and as a part of the National Down Syndrome Congress’s National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition. 


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